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A dental implant is a surgical component made of titanium that is surgically positioned into the jawbone, allowing the dentist to mount replacement teeth (to replace teeth that are lost because of gum diseases, decay, dental trauma or other injuries) into that area. In single or multiple tooth loss, dental implants supporting bridge or removable prosthesis are an effective way of restoring the chewing function and they also provide lasting aesthetic benefits.

Inserting Dental Implants

Insertion of dental implants is carried out after radiological, prosthetic, periodontal, oral and maxillofacial evaluation of the patient. Local anaesthesia is given to numb the area where dental implants will be placed. Dental implant surgery is usually performed in two stages. First, the dentists drills a hole for the implant, the implant is buried under the gums for 3 months and then the gums are opened up to expose the implant and allow the crown to be attached. In the second stage of the surgery, the dentist screws a healing cap onto the exposed portion of the dental implant. Following the healing (osseointegration) of the dental implant, an implant-supported prosthesis can be inserted.

Are Dental Implants for Everyone?

The long-term success of dental implants depend on the several factors, including your general health and medication, the need for good oral health and the condition of your jawbone (whether or not you have enough bone in your jaw to allow an implant to be inserted in the jawbone). In cases where patients do not have enough bone in their jaws, bone manipulation techniques can be used to form a receptor site for dental implant. However, other factors, including smoking, uncontrolled diabetes, diseases and drugs affecting bone metabolism can reduce the success rate of dental implant procedures.

What is an Implant-Supported Prosthesis?

There are three types of implant-supported prostheses:

  1. Fixed implant-supported prostheses
  2. Removable implant-supported prostheses
  3. Implant-supported hybrid prostheses

Fixed implant-supported prostheses are fixed (glued) on implants, just like dental crowns and bridges. It is administered following the dental implant procedures if there is enough bone and soft tissue in the jaw.

Removable implant-supported prostheses vary by type in accordance with the patients’ functional needs. They are supported by attachments, implants and surrounding soft tissue. Removable implant-supported prostheses are an alternative for implant rehabilitation which cannot be treated with fixed dentures and for cases where there are not enough soft and hard tissues in the jaw.

Implant-supported hybrid prosthesis is a combination of removable implant-supported prosthesis and fixed implant-supported prosthesis. Feel like fixed restoration, hybrid prostheses cannot be removed by patient, only by dentist for routine dental examinations. This type of prosthesis is supported by both dental implants and surrounding tissues.

What is Sinus Lift Surgery? Why is it needed?

The large voids located on each side of the upper jaw are called “maxillary sinuses” They are the largest of the paranasal sinuses. Extending down around the maxillary posterior teeth root tips, these voids enlarge over time due to air pressure, causing loss of bone volume in this region when combined with osteoporosis and tooth loss. When there is insufficient bone volume for placing dental implants in this area, the amount of bone in the posterior maxilla is increased through a surgical procedure called sinus lift. It is a surgery that requires the cutting of the gum under local anaesthesia and opening a window into sinus. After gaining access to the sinus, the membrane lining the sinus is lifted upward to insert a bone grafting material into the floor of the sinus, and the incision site is closed with sutures. Dental implant surgery and sinus-lift-grafting can be performed within the same surgical procedure. But, for some cases, it can also be performed 4-6 months after the sinus lift procedure.

What are peri-implant diseases? Why do they occur?

When patients neglect oral hygiene care following dental implant placement, bacteria can build up on the base of the implant and gum inflammation can develop around the soft tissues of the dental implant (peri-implant mucositis). If peri-implant mucositis left untreated it may lead to peri-implantitis (deterioration in the bone supporting the dental implant). In order to last a lifetime, dental implants require proper oral health routine and regular check-ups.

Signs and symptoms of peri-implant diseases

Signs of peri-implant diseases include bleeding on probing, swollen gums, foul smell and bad taste in the mouth, and swinging or loosening of implant-supported prosthesis. If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, you should seek immediate dental care.

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